Looking up the South Hill Stairway

Through History

This is a very early (1866) view up the south hill stairs. The stairs were wooden at this time and it was before the construction of the brewery of Joseph Wolf. The home at the top of the hill still stands today. The three story building at the street level is gone.

This is a very early (1866) view up the south hill stairs. The stairs were wooden at this time and it was before the construction of the brewery of Joseph Wolf. The home at the top of the hill still stands today. The three story building at the street level is gone.

 

The South Main Street Stairs

Written by Mark Luebker

When Stillwater was founded in the mid-19th century, there was no easy way to reach what’s now known as the South Hill. “Nelson’s Field,” as it was called then (named for Socrates Nelson, an early settler and landowner), sat atop a bluff more than 100 feet high. But unlike the North Hill, there were no streets connecting it to the downtown below. And cutting through that bluff and filling in below to build such a connection would be a major engineering task.

 
 
Another early view of the wooden stairs, this time with an additional series of stairs at the bottom. This photo is sourced from the John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library.

Another early view of the wooden stairs, this time with an additional series of stairs at the bottom. This photo is sourced from the John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library.

 
This photo was taken in 1878. It is from the John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library. The brick building on the right still stands today. Behind the house on the left is the beginning of "Slab Alley".

This photo was taken in 1878. It is from the John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library. The brick building on the right still stands today. Behind the house on the left is the beginning of "Slab Alley".

 
This view up the stairs does after the construction of the brick building in the foreground. The stairs are still wooden. This photo is from the John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library.

This view up the stairs does after the construction of the brick building in the foreground. The stairs are still wooden. This photo is from the John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library.

 
The first concrete stairs next to the Joseph Wolf Brewery Building. 

The first concrete stairs next to the Joseph Wolf Brewery Building. 

 
 

This Gallery features a historical set of photos along with a "Time Tunnel" that allows you to go from 1870 to 2016. The gallery can be activated by Clicking or Tapping on any photo above. Photo credit for the historical photos is The John Runk Collection, courtesy of the Stillwater Public Library, the "Time Tunnel" photos are by R. Molenda.